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34 Stressed Pronouns

Besides the forms of pronouns we have already learned, there are additional, stressed forms of pronouns. They can be placed to any position in the sentence. They are mostly used when you want to emphasize them, but they must also be used with prepositions.

Their forms are similar to the regular pronouns, but usually a bit longer:

pronouns in singular
person N A, G DL
1st ja mene meni
2nd ti tebe tebi
refl. sebe sebi

Bear in mind that Croatian completely distinguishes 2nd person singular and plural, while English has just you for both.

This example will illustrate their use:

Ana čeka mene. Ana is waiting for me.

There's a curious third row: A sebe, DL sebi, marked as reflexive. The word sebe is the emphasized form of se². However, you cannot emphasize every se²: you can emphasize only these where meaning of the verb didn't change. Consider these sentences:

1 Brijem se. I'm shaving.

2 Oni se vole. They love each other.

3 Juha se kuha. The soup is cooking.

4 Vraćam se. I'm coming back.

5 Zovem se Igor. My name is Igor.

6 Igram se. I'm playing.

7 Bojim se. I'm afraid.

You can emphasize only the se² in the sentence #1, not in others:

1 Brijem sebe. I'm shaving myself.

There's a simple test to decide what you can emphasize: it can be done if you can use myself and not you (or herself and not him, etc.) in English sentence. For example, if you accidentally called yourself over the phone (e.g. your mobile phone), you can emphasize it:

Zvao sam sebe! I called myself! (or dialed)

To put it simply, you can emphasize se² as sebe only if someone is really doing something to themselves – e.g. shaving, washing and so on. Such use of se² is sometimes called true reflexive.

The form sebe must be used when prepositions and adverbs are involved. For example, with adverb van outside there's an often used phrase:

van sebe pred. furious, mad, freaking out

This implies extreme excitation, you can be van sebe because you're really happy, but most often it just means you're really angry:

Goran je bio van sebe. Goran was freaking out.

Such small phrases that can be used only with the verb biti (je² +) be are sometimes called predicatives, abbreviated as pred.

The form sebe is used whenever you refer to subject and need the genitive case:

Bojao se sebe. He was afraid of himself.

In the last sentence, the se² is the particle, and sebe is the object in genitive.

What about the DL sebi? It's used when you send something to yourself, and with prepositions. There's even a short form si², used sometimes.

Here are the forms for plural:

pronouns in plural
person N A, G DL
1st mi nas nama
2nd vi vas vama

Finally, here are the 3rd person forms. They are mostly like unstressed forms with added n- or nje-:

3rd person pronouns
gender N A DL G
f ona nju njoj nje
n ono njega njemu = A
m on
f pl. one njih njima = A
n pl. ona
m pl. oni

With the stressed forms of personal pronouns, we are able to use prepositions. One of them is za¨ for, requiring nouns or pronouns in the accusative case:

Sendvič je za Anu. The sandwich is for Ana.

Kolač je za njih. The cake is for them.

(In certain regions, you will maybe hear za me or za te, that is, using za with the unstressed 1st and 2nd person pronouns. It's a bit archaic.)

It's also quite common to use the preposition kod¨ with pronouns. The result is a compact way to say where something is:

Knjiga je kod mene. The book is ‘at my place’.

This can mean that the book is in your house (even if you're not in the house at the moment!), your room, your backpack, or even pocket – depending on the context. This is a convenient way to indicate temporary possession of movable things.

Also, this is a very common way to express location "at our place" (this corresponds to German ‘bei uns’). Of course, this "us" can imply your family, your friends, your country – depending on the context:

Kod nas pada kiša. It rains ‘at our place’. (or here, etc.)

Goran je bio kod nas. Goran was at our house/home.

Another frequent use of stressed pronouns is in short responses to what others have said. This is how it works:

Ovaj film je dosadan… This movie is boring…

Meni nije. lit. ‘Not to me.

— I meni. lit. ‘Also to me.

The first sentence tries to be an ‘objective statement’, while the responses are opinions (by adding a person in DL): what I feel/think.

Even if you rearrange words, you cannot use short forms of pronouns in such responses.

You'll encounter later more situations where the stressed pronouns have to be used.

↓ Examples (click to show)

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5 Easy Croatian: 34 Stressed Pronouns Besides the forms of pronouns we have already learned, there are additional, stressed forms of pronouns. They can be placed to any position...

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